UVic hires seven students to help create social media posts

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Social Media Ambassadors create Instagram and TikTok content about campus life and events

uvic twitter
(Photo sourced from UVic Twitter)

The University of Victoria recently hired seven new Social Media Ambassadors (SMAs) to help promote UVic on Instagram and TikTok. Each Social Media Ambassador is paid $19.50 an hour and is required to work for five hours or less each week. The positions were created in January.

Jes Scott, manager of digital media strategies, explained the new positions were created to share the student perspective of attending UVic.

“[The students will describe] what makes UVic distinctive including research impact, hands on experience, extraordinary academic environment and community to a broad audience,” Scott wrote in an email to the Martlet.

The SMAs are assigned different work based on their strengths. The job posting for the position states that applicants should already have a presence on social media or have experience creating digital content.

SMAs must attend monthly creative meetings, and according to the job posting be, “keen to share UVic-related stories, attend UVic events and/or share about UVic on their own personal channels.” Essentially, they are UVic’s personal team of influencers.

Scott wrote that the total cost of the new SMA program is covered under UVic’s communications and marketing budget and is included in the approximately $14 600 000 budgeted for external engagement. The seven new SMAs will cost around $2,730 each month or around $10,920 for an entire semester. 

Aside from the SMAs, UVic also spends over $100 000 on social media platforms annually. From 2019-2020, UVic spent $63,340 on Facebook, which also includes Instagram. In the same year, the university paid $107,116 to Google, who owns YouTube, and $62,301 to LinkedIn. 

The two platforms that SMAs utilize the most are Instagram and TikTok. Posts consist of topics like research projects that are starting and ongoing at the university, highlighting important academic dates, student life, and advertising events and businesses on campus. In the past few months, the most popular posts were the ones that highlighted student life at UVic. For example, on Feb. 16, the UVic Instagram page posted the first part of their online series “From Tehran to Canada,” which followed SMA Sahra on her moving trip from Tehran to Victoria in order to attend UVic, and received 1,348 likes at the time of writing. In contrast, the Feb. 22 post about the GSS and Global Community “Speed Friending” event only received 412 likes at the time of writing. 

More frequently though, the posts by the Ambassadors have been on the popular platform TikTok. 

Most of the TikToks are UVic-specific, like “A Day in the Life of a UVic Student,” where one of the SMAs shows their daily routine while living on campus. Others reference university life in general, one of which featured a SMA screaming into a pillow over their workload. Many others feature viral TikTok dances that take place somewhere on campus, like the quad or Petch fountain.

The posts by SMAs and other students do not garner close to the same amount of attention on YouTube as they do on Instagram and TikTok, which explains why these two platforms are the focus of UVic’s new initiative. 

It is unclear whether the Digital Media Team and UVic Communications and Marketing will be offering the seven positions after the original term ends in April 2021.

How UVic will measure the program’s success is also unclear, but Scott shares that the Digital Media Team and UVic Communications and Marketing are excited about the new initiative.